How to Draw Anime Faces

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In this anime drawing lesson you learn how to draw anime faces of different characters with the help of the same proportional outline.

You can draw along as I explain how to draw a cute kid, a pretty woman and a fierce assassin warrior step by step.

All faces are shown in the same stages of drawing next to each other.
So you can draw only one character at a time, or all simultaneously, just as you like.

How to draw Anime Faces Step 1:
Setting up the Proportional Outline

The proportional outline is a template that helps you to draw everything in the face at the right place and in the right size.
It is the safest way how to draw anime faces with the typical proportions.

Draw the outline with very slight lines.You'll have to erase them later.


- Draw a circle and divide it in half with a straight vertical line.

- Divide the circle into three parts of equal height with two horizontal lines.
Then extend the vertical middle line below the circle for one third of the circles height. Put a little mark at its end.

- Draw two tangents from the mark to the circle.
(A tangent is a line that touches the circle's side at only one point.)

Now your finished outline has four parts of equal height:
1. The top of the head for weird anime hairstyles.
2. The forehead for brows and bangs.
3. The area for the eyes.
4. The place for chin and mouth.
The nose will sit just in the middle between 2 and 3, where the circle is cut by the middle line.

With the outline set up we can now dive into the steps how to draw the kid, the woman, and the assassin.

The text contains a lot of details how to draw each single part of the face and how they fit into the characters style.
If you want to get the general idea how to draw anime faces with this method, just scroll down and look at the pictures only.
They show very well how you fill out the template until you arrive at the finished face.
Have fun!

How to draw Anime Faces Step2:
Drawing Chin & Shape of Face

Draw the first two lines of your character to outline his face.Start from the chin and draw them up to the sides of the circle.

Their shape will have a strong influence on the character's look.Choose them according to the type of person you want to draw.



Child:

Children usually have very round faces, so let the lines bulge out a lot.
Make the chin pointy, which is quite common in anime.
Note that the lines touch the circle where it is cut by the eye-line.

Woman:

Her face is supposed to look rather fragile.
So make her face thinner and draw the lines only up to the point where the tangents touch the circle.
Round her chin, but make a rather angular bent into the lines halfway through.
This gives here a more adult like look.

Assassin:

The assassin is supposed to look very masculine and stout.So give him a very broad chin.
Draw it with a straight horizontal line.

Then draw two lines to connect the chin with the circle at the eye-line.
You can see in the picture that they are rather curvy.

Let them bulge out once in the middle to indicate the assassin's jaw.
Then let them arch out a second time shortly before they touch the eye-line.
This will give him a bony cheek.

How to draw Anime Faces Step3:
Drawing the Eyes

When the eyes are wide apart, the character will look rather innocent and feminine.
When the eyes are close together, the character will look rather masculine and aggressive.

Mark two spots on the eye-line where you want to draw your eyes.
Make sure that both have the same distance from the middle line.

Then draw the eyes in, so that they just touch your marks on the eye-line from below.



First Row: Basic Eye Outline.

Child:

The child's eyes are very wide apart and very large. This is typical for children, but of course exaggerated in anime drawings.
Draw the eyes so big that they almost touch the circle below and give them an oval shape.

Woman:

Draw the woman's eyes a bit closer together.
Give them the shape of a circle and make them slightly smaller than the child's eyes.

Assassin:

The marks on the eye-line should sit pretty far apart for the assassin's eyes, because the eyes only touch them with their outer corners.

Draw his eyes with three lines:
First, start from the marks and draw two long arcs towards the middle line. These are his upper eyelids.
Let them bend downwards to give him an angry look and make them come close together in the middle.

Second, start from the marks again and draw two more lines that arch slightly towards the middle line, but make them point downwards much steeper.

Finally draw his lower eyelids, starting from the lower ends of the second lines.
Make them bulge upwards so that it looks like he is narrowing his eyes to a fierce gaze.

Second Row: Pupils, Highlights, Eyelids

The pupil should usually have the same shape as the eye, only a bit smaller.
The larger you make it, the friendlier the look will be.

Child:

Draw the pupil as an oval into the eye's center.

Then add a tiny circle for a highlight into it.
Draw a bean-shaped highlight above the pupil.
Set it slightly to the left side.

Make the eyelids big and simple.
They are two curved lines that touch the eyes above and below.
Note that they are extending the eyes far on the left and the right.

Woman:

Draw a big circle into each eye for the pupils.
Then add two more circles for highlights:
A very small one into the pupils and a bigger one on the upper left of the eye.
This second highlight should overlap the pupil a little bit.

Her eyelids are rather narrow on top and bottom of the eyes.
The upper eyelids arch inwards a little at the outer corner of the eye to give her a melancholic look.

Assassin:

Just draw two little circles into the eyes.

The assassin doesn't get any highlights, because he is not supposed to look cute.

Third Row: Lashes and Brows

Child:

Add three big lashes at the outer corner of each eyelid.Then draw in the brows.
They have a shape like water drops.

Woman:

Add three eyelashes to each eyelid.
Her brows are just two short and very thin lines (she surely groomed them a lot).

Assassin:

Draw two very thick eyebrows that point downwards.
Make them touch the eyelids at the inner corner of the eyes.
This will make his look even angrier.
Add two down pointing spikes at the upper end of each eyebrow.
Then draw a scar over one of his eyes.

How to draw Anime Faces Step4:
Drawing Nose, Mouth and Ears



First Row: The Nose

The child's nose is round and simple, like everything else.
It is just a slightly sloped line.

The woman has a typical pointy nose. These noses are very common in anime.

But a nose like that would still look to cute on the assassin, so give him a rather broad nose, like a foot with three toes.

Second Row: The Mouth

For the child just one more simple line again, making it smile.

The woman's mouth consists of three lines.
The first one, for the upper lip, arches upwards and has a little bulge that goes down right under the nose.
It is as broad as the distance between the eyes.
The second line indicates where the lips meet each other.
And the third line, for the lower lip, arches downwards.

The line for the assassin's mouth is straight and only points down a little at the corner of the mouth, to keep his look angry.
Also add a small second line below to indicate the underside of his lower lip.

Third Row: The Ears

The child's ears are just two narrow ovals that have about the same height as the eyes.

Note how the woman's ears point a bit sideward because they have to fit under the circle (if you look at the finished graphic at the beginning of the page, you will see that the woman's right ear will be hidden under hair. So you don't need to draw it).

Here is an enlarged view for the woman's and assassin's ears so that you see the details:



First you draw the ear's outline (red).
Make it thin for the woman and rather broad for the man, to fit their style.
Bulge the outline in a little to separate the earlobe clearly (red arrow).
Note that the woman's ears just touch the eye-line, while the assassin's ears reach above it.

The most important thing for the second line is that you let it arch outwards over the actual ear opening (blue arrow).

Then draw the ear opening and the other lines that are shown in green to bring the ear alive inside.

Make the ear opening round for the woman and square for the man.

Always fit little details like that to the general style of your character and the look will improve a lot.

How to draw Anime Faces Step 5:
Drawing the Hair



I think the graphic says it all.
Just take care to leave a bit of space between the hair and the circle.
Otherwise the hair will look to flat.

And don't forget to add the neck in the last step.

How to draw Anime Faces Step 6:
Inking, Erasing, Finishing

Redraw all final lines with an inking pencil.
Fill in the eyes also (only the pupils), but leave the highlights empty.
Don't fill in the assassin's scarred eye.
Leave it white to indicate that it is blind.
When done, erase everything else.
When you didn't draw the outline with very slight strokes you will curse yourself in this step now (just as I did ^^).



Add some final details after erasing:

- Give the kid's eyes some diagonal strokes for decoration.

- Shadow the woman's upper eyes.

- Fill in the assassins eyebrows.

The only thing that's left to do is to color your new anime drawings!
You can use the colored pictures at the top of this page as a guide, if you like.

Isn't it amazing how you can draw anime faces in very different styles with the help of the same outline?

It is a great method that you can use to create your own anime characters.

And I encourage you to do exactly that!
Just play and experiment a little.
You will come up with your own individual ways how to draw anime faces.
And that will be even more fun than anything else!

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